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United Trade Union Signed Memorandum with Georgian Manganese

Tamta Kakauridze, Zestaponi

The employees of the Georgian Manganese Ltd in Zestaponi and Chiataura are waiting for the administration to keep their promises. Systematic negotiations were going on between the administration of the Georgian Manganese and the United Trade Union of Georgia. Several times, it was threatened to renew the protest demonstrations. The employees would have used their right of demonstration if they could not have achieved their goals through negotiations.

On June 4, negotiations ended and the memorandum was signed between the United Trade Union of Georgia and the administration of the Georgian Manganese Ltd. The director-general of the Ltd Aleksandre Vishnevski and the chairman of the United Trade Union Irakli Petriashvili signed the document.

According to the memorandum, the salary for the employees working in night-shifts at Zestaponi Ferro Factory will increase by 20%. From May, 2010 the salaries of the enterprise personnel of the Georgian Manganese will increase by 15%. Together with the increase of the salaries, the amount and qualification of the work shall also be estimated; thus the unfair differences between the workers of different categories shall be eradicated.

Besides that, the bonuses for the workers who complied with the enterprise index shall be 100 % of the salary. The employer will estimate the amount of the bonus in accordance to the inflation and living minimum. The further increase in salaries will be discussed in June of 2011 in accordance to the financial conditions of the company. The parties agreed that minimum salary at the Georgian Manganese Ltd from the third quarter of 2010 will be over 200 – before protest demonstrations the minimum salary at the Chiatura Mine was 105 GEL. Hence, the permanent labour agreements will be signed with the employees expect in cases when the worker is recruited for the implementation of a specific work (project); there might be some other exceptions too.

The memorandum states that the collective draft-agreement will be agreed with the TU of Georgia; as well the list of the workers of Chiatura Mining Factory, who shall be supplied with free dry food, will be corrected together with the TU. The memorandum also envisages the monitoring of the quality of the food.

The memorandum states that Georgian Manganese will withdraw its appeal from the court where the Ltd requested to declare the strike illegal; on June 2, 2010 Zestaponi district court did not satisfy their appeal. Social projects (reconstruction and equipment of the enterprise buildings, communications and canteens; reconstruction of medical equipment) are planned in the 2010 investment budget plan.

According to the memorandum, the United Trade Union of Georgia is responsible to strictly control the workers to act in accordance to the security norms; enterprise and labour disciplinary issues; not to allow the workers to stop working process wilfully. The parties agreed that if a worker arrives at the working place drunken, or steal something or leave the working place without warning will be fired from work.

“This memorandum is a good example of what can be achieved when the business companies and Trade Union cooperate with each other. We have constructive dialogue with the administration of the two largest enterprises in Georgia. Similar cooperation will do much good for our country,” said the chairman of the Trade Union of Georgia Irakli Petriashvili when signing the memorandum.
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